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Campbell’s chapel complex blessed with options

Published May 17, 2012

On time and under budget is just part of the story.

The rest of the story includes options like a world-class organ, grand and digital pianos, giant TV screens, sound board, gliding rockers, children’s furniture and kitchen appliances.

“We built in options to the original chapel contract that was based on the standard design,” explained Nora Hawk, the Corps of Engineers’ project manager for the recently completed chapel complex on Fort Campbell, Ky. “Whereas we use military construction funds for the base contract, we need to use operations and maintenance Army funds for the audio-visual and kitchen equipment, administrative furniture and mission unique furnishings options.”

Hawk coordinated the $130,000 plus contract for the Corps’ Huntsville Engineering and Support Center to procure the administrative furniture and then went in search of the $575,000 for the mission unique equipment and furnishings. Project engineer Jason Phillips said Hawk used “exceptional leadership” in securing the additional funding that came as a grant from the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, and with assistance from Headquarters, Installation Management Command. 

The need for a new chapel was identified in 1988, but it took Congressional action to make it a reality by getting it into the fiscal year 2010 budget, Hawk said. The $8.4 million adapt-build contract was awarded in August, 2010, to Infinite-Wyatt, a small business joint venture out of Coosada, Ala.

“The Fort Campbell Chapel Complex is an adaption of the 2004 Army Standard Design (ASD) developed by the Omaha District Center of Standardization (COS) religious facility design team,” explained Askelon Parker, the project’s lead architect and a member of the Omaha District COS. “One purpose of the standard design it to avoid any major functional changes to the program or floor plan that would inadvertently eliminate support for any faith group. For instance, the steeple is a typological feature used to identify the building as a religious facility but it does not denote any particular faith group.”

Askelon said one of the standard design options is a deliberate axis so the plan can be mirror-imaged to accommodate different site conditions. He noted that in the case of the Fort Campbell chapel, the floor plan was flipped to align the main entrance with some existing site conditions. Chapel designs come in three sizes: 17,900 square feet for the “chapel” model; 22,600 square feet for the “chapel center;” and 32,900 square feet for the “complex” like the newly built Fort Campbell facility.  

The chapel complex was ready in time for The Boogie Woogie Jesus Project from Nashville, Tenn., to inspire the 575 Soldiers and family members worshipping in the sanctuary at the 11 a.m. Easter service.

“Easter was our maiden voyage and we did not hit an iceberg,” were the nautical images Army Chap. (Col.) Roger Heath evoked to describe the inauguration of the complex. “We can now house a full battalion for a memorial ceremony and we can also accommodate more and better child care,” he added. 

Heath said features that come with the new chapel that didn’t exist with the older structures on post include “more and better classrooms, baptistery and a way to expand (the sanctuary) from 600 to 1,000 people.” 

The population supported by the Fort Campbell Chaplains’ Office includes active-duty Soldiers, family members, retirees and Reservists and totals more than 183,000.